Pigeons: Conservation

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 30th June 2020.

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Photo of Richard Holden Richard Holden Conservative, North West Durham

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the Government plans to take steps to protect racing pigeons from predators.

Photo of Victoria Prentis Victoria Prentis The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The Government's policy is that individuals should be free to manage wildlife within the law. Some predatory species, such as raptors, are afforded legal protection to help ensure that management does not impact on their conservation status. The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 permits the granting of licences to control wild birds but only for certain limited purposes, which are set out in section 16 of the Act. There are currently no provisions in the Act to permit licences to be granted to protect racing pigeons from predation by raptors or other avian predators.

Individuals are advised to deter predators, for example by using mesh to disrupt flight lines and to fly birds at times when predators are least likely to be present. Those who are concerned about the effects of raptors on racing pigeons can seek advice from local Natural England officers, who offer free advice to those experiencing problems.

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